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Training for the 5K with Stevie Ray Vaughan

Updated on November 10, 2012

Setting Goals for a 5K Running Race

Setting realistic goals for exercise is an important tool for keeping your workouts interesting. In my own journey back to the healthy fitness world I have incorporated small goals that have led to building my confidence. In just 8 weeks I have lost almost 10 pounds, increased my aerobic stamina and have committed to participating in my first 5K.

Every so often I challenge myself even beyond the norm for me and end up in a Lucy Ricardo moment. That is, I wind up asking myself, “How the heck did I get here?” I have a feeling that on Saturday morning, (that is September 10th, to be exact—just two days away), I will be asking that very question as I warm up for the big race.

The ‘big race’ is already making me nervous. I have already conceded to the fact that I won’t run the entire race, and that is okay. Walking will get me to the finish line just as well. I am proud to say that I have increased my jogging from a mere 5 minutes, when I first began this quest, to 35 minutes of nonstop running at a rate that went from 3.0 on the treadmill to 4.2 without gasping for breath. I’m hoping to finish within an hour and a half. If things go well, maybe cut it back to an hour.

I have to admit-I’m getting cold feet; not a good thing when it is your feet that you are counting on to carry you through the race. How do I cope with my nerves? Well, I keep in mind that this is not a life and death event, it is merely for enjoyment; I breathe into my belly to calm myself down; and I remember that I have invested twenty hard earned dollars to register-all for a good cause, (cancer fundraiser), but admittedly, there are many other things I could have chosen to do with twenty bucks.

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How to meet your fitness challenges

I like to think of this as an exercise in fortitude. One doesn’t know how much resilience one really has until put to the test. Showing up at the starting line amidst a throng of strangers is that test. How badly can I really embarrass myself?

I’m not alone in pushing the envelope of self challenges. Unbeknownst to me, my sister, hubber Danette Watt, signed up that same weekend for a 5K in her local area. I didn’t realize this until a phone conversation came around to that subject. I think she has a handle on it much better than I have-she’s been doing her practice runs outdoors and has acclimated herself to the weather conditions. I, on the other hand, have enjoyed the cool temps of the indoor treadmill AND an additional fan blowing on me. Okay, not the best training, I’ll agree, but I have recently worked out without the extra fan.

Speaking of training, you may wonder what my secrets are…well, there is only one that I can really offer because I am only a novice in the world of fitness. My best advice if you want to participate in the 5K is to ‘JUST DO IT!’

Did you happen to catch that I said, “Participate” and not “run”? It is part of the secret-to do what you can from where you are right in this moment. Don’t compare yourself to other people who are running. That includes your neighbor, your family members, and your best friend. Each person is only expected to do what they are capable of…and perhaps push themselves a little beyond the ordinary.

How to Run a 5K Race: Pre-Race Tips

There are all sorts of support out there if it is your desire to compete in a race. I was amazed that when I voiced my plan out loud to a staff member at the fitness center a fellow member began to ask all sorts of questions about time and shoes. He offered support and encouragement-LOTS of encouragement as a matter of fact. Since he has participated in previous races he was able to share valuable information.

As for shoes-well, it’s vital to have a good pair of shoes to absorb the shock of the terrain. My biggest mistake is that I did not find that pair and have to rely on my tried and true at this point. To use a brand new pair at this late date would be a mistake I don’t want to make. I am familiar with my old, worn out sneakers, and they are a comfortable fit…just not as cushy as they once were. I’ll settle for a good foot soak at the end of the race.

Staying motivated while training is important also. If you lose interest because of boredom it will take away the energy you need for the actual event. Some of the ways I stayed motivated were by changing the routine-working out at different times of the day, for instance. Also, I changed the venue-I actually did get outdoors and jog in the streets and fields near our home. Sometimes I would jog while taking the dog for her run. She enjoyed chasing after me or speeding ahead. While on retreat I jogged the campus walkways. A huge difference because there were rolling hills that were challenging. But, it was a change of pace.

Finding your own rhythm is a key factor in pacing yourself. I have a friend who competes in races. This tall athlete invited me to run with him while we were in retreat. I stand at a just over 5 feet and he is well over 6 feet tall. Although we never did have that opportunity due to our schedule, I couldn’t imagine what type of run he was referring to, because he’d have to slow down for me. I know I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him.

I use music to motivate and help me to keep a rhythm. In fact, I’ll be taking Stevie Ray Vaughan with me when I join the others this Saturday. Stevie and I go way back. I used to listen to his music in blues bars, and although I never saw him in person, I have many of his CD’s and he has kept me moving on that treadmill.

Crossfire: One of the many songs I jog to. I like the easy rhythm and the beat: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and...each count a step. Two albums I listen to while working out are: Texas Flood and In Step.With Stevie crooning to me this Saturday morning, I can’t go wrong. I’ll keep you posted on the results of the race.


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    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Giselle. I'm glad you found it helpful. Not sure what Danette said, but glad you found your way here. She's my sister, BTW. :)

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 6 years ago

      A very interesting hub with some helpful tips for runners wanting to do a 5K. I actually came here via a comment left for me by Danette Watt. I will have to check out more of your hubs, you seem to write on a good range of topics.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Dale-LOL Is that all it takes to be a soul mate? Well, I guess that makes us S.M's. I love his music and am not surprised that you're a musician!

    • profile image

      Dale Gregg 6 years ago

      Stevie Ray? Really? Denise, we're practically soul-mates!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Okay, Sister-tag you're it. Good luck to you on Sunday (9/11) in your race. Where in the world are you running, girl? Downtown Detroit??? LOL What does Sam mean-"carry a knife"? Our mapped area was blocked from traffic and monitored...hope yours is also.

      Thanks Gail! I finished and will tell you all about it soon. J is helping me with the technical points of the video he took.

      Audrey-I just gave myself that big hug you mentioned. Thanks! I'm glad to see that you are right there jogging along with your 30 hub challenge! Woo hoo-way to go!

      Awww, thanks Cara--a big hug to you for your support!

      Hello Hafeezrm-Safari's!!! Take me along...Hahaha. I would love to go on one. And good for you for getting up and doing anything...many people don't even do that much.

      Hi Ruby. Thanks! I appreciate your comments. And, YES, I DID IT!! (big smile here)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      You can do it!! I am very much into fitness, treadmill, bicycling, and stretching. Thank you for sharing this hub......

    • hafeezrm profile image

      hafeezrm 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Nice and informative hub. I do not excercise regularly but I avail any opportunity to go on foot to my bank or market or going up-stairs. I test my edurance when I go on my semi-annual safaris.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Walk,run, it doesn't matter how you get there as long as you get there! I'm so proud of you Mom. I know that you've worked really hard to get to this point. You will do a fantastic job!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Am I proud of you? Dang right I am! Just look at you and what you have accomplished. Whatever you're doing right now - stop...and give yourself a big hug! Super hub, Denise. Wonderful!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Good luck to both of you!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Dee, good luck on the race! You're right, JUST DO IT is the mantra of the hour. And having music to listen to. I haven't up to this point and won't in the race b/c I don't want to deal with trying to manage an iPod for the first time running. Since I have been running at night, I also hesitate to use it b/c I want to be aware of who's around me. Sam thinks I should carry a knife! LOL.

      I agree, wonderful story about Gail's sister.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Venzkhvam-nice to meet you. Thank you for reading and offering your feedback. I appreciate it.

      Thanks Phil, for your comments and encouragement. I agree about the adrenalin...I'm sure I will be feeling a lot of that tomorrow morning.

      Hello Patty Daniels-thanks for reading and commenting. Thanks for the 'luck'. I'll take all I can get.

      Hi Gail-Thank you! I appreciate your support. I think that is a great story you shared about your sister.

      I'll let everyone know the outcome!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      I have one thing to say: "You go girl!!!" I think it's great that you're doing this and thought it was cool that Danette had signed up for a 5K run in her area.

      My older sister lost about 70 pounds when she was in her late 40's and went from barely being able to walk a single block without being short of breath to running a marathon in her town. She was the very last one to cross the finish line and said it was amazing how many people were cheering her on toward the end, including the cops taking up the rear and some of the spectators who started walking alongside her and chanting, "Keep going. You're almost there. You can do it." She walked over the line but was amazed that she'd actually finished.

      Good luck. Sounds like you have a great attitude and you're a winner already just by joining and showing your commitment to finish. And congratulations on your 10 pound weight loss.

    • profile image

      Patty Daniels 6 years ago

      denise, I very much enjoyed your last essay. You wrote with a sane tone, totally un-hyper, without a trace of precious-ness, false bravado,or hubris. I like you just reading it.

      Good luck tomorrow.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Good luck in the race tomorrow! You can do it!!!

      SRV is not a bad choice, indeed, to keep you company. You'll probably find that you'll do your best time in the race because you'll have some adrenaline working for you based on being in a crowd. Let us know here how you do.

    • VENZKHVAM profile image

      VENZKHVAM 6 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

      I think you are true to the fact that getting yourself in the line first of all to exercise is the most difficult task for all the lazy potato couches.

      Generally advice's are free of cost available. But disciplined way of exercise is the need of the hour and if billions of our people do that itself will scare away , lakhs of diseases and disorder and make a better living for our human beings.

      Nice hub thought provoking , Needs simplicity